David Corn Speaks Sense

I never thought I’d say this, but David Corn has what is a very reasonable and thoughtful column on the affair of former White House pool reporter Jeff Gannon. Gannon was first outed as a conservative, then left-wing outlets like Daily Kos and Atrios started finding out that Gannon has a sordid history of homosexual hanky-panky. What they found was disturbing, but hardly relevant to the issue at hand. As Corn notes:

But with the Gannon/Guckert case, I wonder if there was a touch of blog-hysteria. (Bloggers, don’t jump on me. I blog too. Click here. I’m only wondering, not accusing.) I am not suggesting, as I noted above, that the who-is-Gannon story was not appropriate grist for the blog-mill. But is it possible that significance of this odd tale was inflated during the red-hot pursuit of this fellow? I’ve met Gannon a few times. For some reason, he was eager to say hello to me when I last visited the White House press room and was handing out invitations to the party for my book, The Lies of George W. Bush. He struck me as mostly innocuous. At the White House daily briefings conducted by McClellan, Gannon/Guckert did ask ideologically loaded questions. But so do other reporters. Until he suffered a heart attack last month, radio commentator Les Kinsolving was known for posing long-winded questions that revealed a sharp rightwing bias. There is nothing wrong with a real journalist hurling at the press secretary–or the president–a pointed question with an ideological foundation. The heroic Helen Thomas does that often. Russell Mokhiber of the Corporate Crime Reporter often challenged Ari Fleischer in this fashion. Arguably, the Q&As at the White House could use more of this sort of questioning. I’d be delighted to see journalists from conservative publications press Bush on the administration’s lowball estimates of Medicare drug benefits. Gannon/Guckert’s pursuers ought to be careful and note that the problem with Gannon/Guckert was not that he was a reporter with an obvious political bent but that he had weak credentials and an iffy background.

Gannon/Guckert’s critics have portrayed him as a White House plant. That could be an overstatement. At the White House daily briefings, most of the journalists present tend to be called upon by McClellan. This is different from what happens at press conferences with Bush. During the briefings, reporters are able to ask multiple questions and return to issues after McClellan has not answered their queries and moved on to other journalists. It’s not a one-shot deal. So Gannon/Guckert was not much help to the McClellan at these briefings. If he asked McClellan an easy question, that would not change the course of the entire briefing and save McClellan from other reporters.

Of course, the left-wing attack dogs keep piling on, constantly retelling the most sordid aspects of the whole affair. Yes, it’s possible that Gannon/Guckert was a gay prostitute at some point in his life. The question is: A:) would that have shown up on the kind of background check performed on the White House press pool? and B:) what difference does it make? Yes, it’s sordid, but the constant attempts to smear this all over the Bush Administration are nearly as abhorrent. There’s absolutely no evidence which suggests that the White House knew about Gannon/Guckert’s past. If Guckert was joining the CIA, there might have been a thorough background check – for being a White House pool reporter I doubt that the Secret Service would be probing into domain registrations.

Furthermore, the idea that Gannon/Guckert was some kind of secret source in the outing of Valerie Plame holds no water. Gannon apparently did see a memo that apparently came from someone in Congress. Then again, sadly Congress leaks like a sieve, and what Gannon saw then had already been released. There’s nothing to that aspect of the scandal either — not that it will stop the left-wing attack dogs.

Last I checked, the left was supposed to be the side of “tolerance.” Instead, we’re getting the crudest of slurs — apparently many Kossacks seem to think that ho-mo-seck-shalls don’t belong anywhere near the White House. Instead it’s the same old story, attack, attack, attack.

Gannon/Guckert’s biggest crime in their eyes wasn’t being a homosexual, or a prostitute. It was representing a conservative viewpoint and throwing a softball question. Of course, if they really want to eliminate any reporter with a political bias from the White House press corps, Scott McClellan and the President can give their daily briefings to an empty room.

When even David Corn, an ardent Bush-basher himself is advising caution, you know you’ve gone over the cliff. Then again, the singular monomania of the left-wing blogosphere seems to know no bounds.

5 thoughts on “David Corn Speaks Sense

  1. I think the question is, how did Gannon get press credentials?

    Why was he allowed to see confidential materials? And why hasn’t that been investigated? Two reporters are facing jail time for seeing the same materials and sources Gannon did; I haven’t heard that he’s been put to the question in the least.

    And why did he lie about being mobbed on his way to church?

  2. Good post, although I disagree with you on it being apparent that Gannon had seen any such memo. I think the much more likely scenerio is that he had read the Wall Street Journal, which had reported upon the memo using phrasings that were remarkably similar to the phrasing of the question regarding the memo that Gannon later asked Joe Wilson.

  3. Instead, we’re getting the crudest of slurs — apparently many Kossacks seem to think that ho-mo-seck-shalls don’t belong anywhere near the White House. Instead it’s the same old story, attack, attack, attack.

    You seem to kind of miss the point. Obviously the left has no problem with homosexuals, and believes they do belong in the White House, and any other area they choose to work in.

    The right, on the other hand, would just as soon have them out of the party altogether; most of the Republican party doesn’t believe a homosexual can be a “real” Republican. What the Kossaks are pointing out is the thundering hypocracy that so typefies Republicans – “keep them gays out of our party, unless they’re useful to our ends. But we still won’t let ’em marry.”

    It’s just really, really funny to see this “Gannon” jerk take a tone of moral, Christian superiority after having been a gay prostitute for all those years.

  4. Here’s why Jay is still missing the point:

    Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart–or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this “journalist” had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

    Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps–and listen to the placid mumbling of the “liberal” media now.

    But in Jay’s eyes, the White House can do no wrong, so he sees this as just some bloggers out to get Gannon. We’re not out to get Gannon, Jay. We’re out to get whoever let him in the White House in the first place.

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